Hey Backbeaters, it’s been a couple weeks since we posted about some fresh vinyl releases, so we’ve got some catching up to do. We’ve got the latest from Alt-J, Beach Fossils, Com Truise, Kevin Morby, Sleep Party People and Wavves to feature today. Some key re-issues have also come out from Tom Petty and Massive Attack, plus soundtracks from Eraserhead and Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me are here.
Let’s get to it!
The superlative album by talent-hoggers alt-J (give someone else a try, ey?) is out now.
“Inventive, thoughtful… and beating with a passion fuelling something quite beautiful” – 4*, The Times
“a weird pop juggernaut with a sinister side” – 4*, NME
“they sound utterly, wonderfully like no one but themselves” – 4*, DIY
The long-awaited return of Brooklyn’s Beach Fossils, Somersault showcases a band in bloom. Charting into new musical territory with a refined songwriting style, it’s an album that captures flashes of life in New York grounded in personal experience.
The band’s self-titled 2010 debut established a sound that was both minimal and enveloping. With Somersault, the group’s first release since 2013’s Clash the Truth, Beach Fossils have channeled years of experimentation into expansion and reinvention. Augmented with more complex instrumentation, including string arrangements, piano, harpsichord, flute, and sax, the new songs offer multi-layered pop guided by sharp, poignant, and honest lyrics.
“Repetition is a form of change,” reads one of Brian Eno’s Oblique Strategies. Seth Haley knows the concept well, and his style of technicolour synth-wave takes the mantra as a challenge–how much emotion can one man convey through his machines? Six years ago, Galactic Melt introduced space traveler Com Truise and his journey through far-flung galaxies, before mini-epics Wave 1 and Silicon Tare expanded the story in further cosmic detail. And now Iteration concludes this sprawling saga. True to its name, the album is built on Com Truise hallmarks: neon-streaked melodies, big drums, robotic grooves, bleary nostalgia. But Iteration is also the most elegant and streamlined that Haley’s music has ever sounded.
His fourth album, City Music works as a counterpart to Morby’s acclaimed 2016 release Singing Saw, an autobiographical set that reflected the solitude and landscape in which it was recorded. It was imagined as “an old bookshelf with a young Bob and Joni staring back at me, blank and timeless. They live here, in this left side of my brain, smoking cigarettes and playing acoustic guitars while lying on an unmade bed.”
And now follows City Music, the yang to its yin, the heads to its tails. It is an collection crafted using the other side of its creator’s brain, the jumping off point perhaps best once again encapsulated by an image. “Here, Lou Reed and Patti Smith stare out at the listener,” explains Morby. “Stretched out on a living room floor they are somewhere in mid-70s Manhattan, also smoking cigarettes.” It finds Morby exploring similar themes of solitude, but this time framed by a window of an uptown apartment that looks down upon an international urban landscape “exposed like a giant bleeding wound.
Sleep Party People is the brainchild of Brian Batz, a Danish multi-instrumentalist with a boundless imagination. The one-man home recording project took shape in 2008 when Batz began experimenting with an old battered piano in his apartment. Coupled with a strange electronic alteration of his recorded voice, he created eerie, hypnotic sounds and haunting melodies forming the basis of Sleep Party People’s self-titled debut album (2010).
Sleep Party People’a latest release “Lingering” is written, recorded, produced, and performed by Batz, the new album develops beyond the band’s more overtly post-rock efforts. With “Lingering”, Batz has found a voice as a unique songwriter, and has captured a singular warmth within his densely layered, futuristically choreographed instrumentation.
The word ‘brat’ has followed Nathan Williams around for almost a decade, but at the age of 30, with a fully-fledged business to his name, as well as the ongoing success of band Wavves, his rebellious streak has proven not just purposeful but pretty damn inspiring. ‘You’re Welcome’ is the soundtrack to this new lease of freedom. It’s Williams’ tongue-in-cheek rebirth as a self-released, self-actualized, self-promoting punk kingpin, and despite putting his money where his uncensored mouth is, he’s emerged not just unscathed but with the upper hand.
So, finally there’s some Tom Petty reissues out. Full Moon Fever has to be one of the most sought after and elusive records for most collectors, so it’s nice you can finally get a fresh copy. Also, Massive Attack’s Mezzanine is now available domestically at a lower price than the import version he had been stocking. If you missed out on the deluxe Twin Peaks reissues from Death Waltz or just couldn’t afford them, Fire Walk With me is now here in a standard package with the original album art. Finally, we have a few copies of the very limited reissue (only 1000 copies made) of the Eraserhead soundtrack in stock right now.